I have to begin by saying that few subjects make me as uneasy as the subject of healing.
When our son Kyle was born, he was two month premature. My wife went into labor and within a few hours we were parents. They whisked him off to the neo-natal intensive care unit. So much was going on, doctors swarmed and machines were all hooked to my son helping him breath or monitoring him. It really was a blur. I remember just praying that he would live; that was all I could muster. I was in overload and could not really form complex thoughts, let alone prayers.
The subject of healing really didn’t come into my mind, even when we received the first possible diagnosis at six months, and then the official diagnosis of cerebral palsy at age two. I’m sure I thought about it, even wondered if it was possible. I know I prayed about it, but without much hope.
To tell you the truth, the whole question of healing really didn’t come up for me until Kyle was seven. Kyle was featured on the Focus on the Family radio broadcast, and afterwards letters started arriving for Kyle. Most letters told Kyle of what a blessing he was to the person writing, and how encouraged they were by what he talked about. There were a few, though, that talked of miracle cures. Just take this thing or that, use our exercise equipment; even people in our church, typically as part of some “multi-level marketing” scheme, were selling miracles.
As the parent of a child with a disability, the thought of healing seems like grabbing at a brass ring just out of reach. I do believe in healing, too many things happen that are inexplicable for me to discount the possibility. I refuse to believe, however, that God choosing to heal or not heal my son has something to do with the amount of faith I have. The Bible says that while we were still sinners Christ died for us (Romans5:8) He does what he does for reasons I , most of the time, don’t really understand, but I know that His actions are in my best interest. He has done so much in my life, it would be foolish to doubt He is there.
I guess healing, in my case, is something that I will never be able to ask for wholeheartedly. The question is just too close to me. If I ask with everything I have, putting full faith in the idea that God will do it, name it and claim it as some of my friends say, and it doesn’t happen I have two choices. I can choose to be bitter, believing that God doesn’t care or can’t heal my son. C.S. Lewis brings up this subject in his book The Problem of Pain. To paraphrase Lewis, either God doesn’t care or can’t do anything about our problems, or we have a wrong view of who God is and how He works.
My second option is to believe that my son’s disability is part of God’s plan. In my son’s case, his cerebral palsy was a part of what got him on Focus on the Family’s broadcast at seven years old, and again at seventeen. It is a complex issue, but would he have been a part of the “Truth Project” at age thirteen, or on Coral Ridge ministries television show “Cross Examine” earlier this year? God has used all of these experiences to bless others, and I see the way Kyle has been used for good. As a parent, however, I would gladly give all of those opportunities up to see my child not have to struggle with his disability. And I know God’s work in the life of their child isn’t as clear for most parents. Wondering what kind of purpose there could possibly be for all this is heartache.
Maybe as a parent I will always have this internal struggle, trying to find purpose and hating how life really is. Or maybe I can come to some kind of internal resolution.
I think it comes down to what our true purpose on this earth is. The more I think life is about me, the less I see a reason for my son’s disability. The more I think this world exists for a bigger purpose, perhaps the more I see how our struggle fits into that cosmic design. It doesn’t mean I always like it, but it helps me begin to understand.